What’s Data Linkage?
Data linkage is the process of connecting various sources of information and records to create full consumer profiles of individuals. Rather than relying on one source of information, linking data is considered best practice for understanding who your audiences are.
While this strategy may sound simple, data linkage comes with great benefits as well as challenges for today’s marketers.
Overcoming the Cross-Device Challenge
An average consumer owns at least 3-4 connected devices, so companies are increasingly challenged to keep up with today’s users across their countless media platforms.
In fact, 89% of marketers say they have problems when it comes to cross-channel marketing with data linkage as their biggest hurdle.
The key (as well as the greatest challenge) is to link all of the consumer behavioral data from each individual’s multiple devices to gain a single customer view.
Gaining insights into each consumers’ unique behaviors, interests, lifestyle and media preferences is powerful because it allows you to provide personalized ads and improve marketing experiences for your audiences – across each individual’s favorite devices.
Linking Data for a Single Customer View:
Combine offline, online and mobile data to gain a comprehensive understanding of your consumers.Data linkage combines:
- Offline – demographic, geographic, postal address, purchase behaviors
- Online – cookie data, online browsing, email address
- Mobile – device ID, app downloads, app usage
For example, if a major auto dealership wants to promote a new car model, they need to define who their target audience is for their specific offer.
With just offline information, the auto dealership may only reach individuals based on their proximity to the dealership and/or annual salary. However, most of these individuals may not necessarily be in-market for a car or have not expressed a clear interest in your brand.
With just online information, the auto dealership is limited to online browser searches, also known as cookie data. Cookie-driven data relies on a lucky guess based on anonymous searches and browser activity.
The auto dealership may deliver display ads for their new car model to desktops with auto search activity in the browsers, but the person receiving the ad may easily be a teenage boy who is simply interested in cars yet unable to drive a car yet – or a college student who is looking up cars but can’t afford the model you’re offering to her. Solely relying on online information can be flimsy.
After all, countless impressions are lost to ad fraud caused by internet bots because there’s no sure way of knowing that there’s a real person on the other side of the screen.
The good news:
Since we are in a mobile-first era, mobile devices are the most personal and accurate way to connect with real individuals. Mobile device IDs allow us to reach verified users on their most utilized device; it’s always on and reachable at our consumers’ fingertips.
In fact, more than 1 in 4 cross-device users only use their smartphone in an average day. Therefore, understanding consumers through mobile (their mobile behaviors, app downloads, and app usage) is a powerful solution to the cross-device challenge.
By deterministically linking people’s mobile devices to their offline and online data, you can create a one-to-one relationship with each customer and provide a customized experience to the individual based on his or her unique consumer profile.
Keeping Up with the Linkage Evolution
Many companies struggle with data linkage due to a lack of technology or organizational structure to implement a data-driven marketing strategy; however, data linkage is increasingly important in order to keep up with the ever-evolving cross-device challenge.
According to Google, leading marketers are 83% more likely than their peers to include cross-device data in their modeling.
The only way to keep up with today’s users is to continue to connect with them across all of their devices, channels and platforms – especially through mobile – to understand their unique interests, consumer behaviors and media preferences. This way, your marketing serves relevant ads in the right places at the right time.
It’s essential to link data in order to understand your audience, strengthen your marketing strategy and fuel powerful campaigns.